WBJ's Michael Neibauer, with his teeth as always deeply sunken into the news of Lower 8th Street, is reporting
what I had heard within the past few days but could not confirm, that the National Community Church
is buying the old Navy Yard Card Barn, aka the Blue Castle, at 770 M Street SE
WBJ reports that the sale price is expected to be between $25 million and $35 million, with the church benefitting from a $4.5 million donation to help fund the purchase, along with income from existing leases for the Castle's remaining tenants to help cover the $1.5 million-a-year mortgage.
As you may recall, NCC went on a Lower 8th buying spree back in 2010 and 2011
, snapping up 10 lots on the block bounded by Virginia, 7th, 8th, and K, including the old Miles Glass building at 8th and Virginia, which was demolished in 2012. (Their holdings do not include the lot on the corner of 8th and L, where "The Brig" beergarden is going to go
.) The church also owns and operates out of the former People's Church a few blocks to the north, on Barracks Row.
The church's Virginia Avenue lots are also right on the front lines of the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel
project--and back in August the Post quoted NCC head Mark Batterson as saying
, "It’s been difficult to take the first step because we don’t know exactly what or when CSX will build and how that will affect us." Which, alongside today's news, does make one wonder about the NCC-related future of those properties.
WBJ says that Batterson told his congregation that the church "hopes to tack on several new floors" to the building--though I have no doubt that that will be a festive trip through the historic preservation review process, along with the Navy giving the stink-eye from across M Street.